I want to preface this post by stating that the Whole30 is not for everyone. In my case, it is not the missing key to losing weight, or to cure a sickness, but rather a way to reset my diet and help me feel better about the food choices that I make. Before beginning a diet like this, please consult your doctor! Do your research! Do not begin a “fad diet” just because everyone else is doing it. Be smart and (please) take care of your body.
I’ve done a few pantry/kitchen essentials posts in the past (like this one and this one), but I decided it was time to do a little update with some of my new tried (and true) favorites! In case you missed it on Instagram, I started the Whole30 on Monday, which meant my pantry and fridge needed a little makeover in order to meet the guidelines of the meal plan. I got a little too excited about cleaning out my kitchen, but it felt great to organize everything and stock up on clean eating items.
In case you’re not familiar with Whole30, it’s a diet plan where you eliminate all sugars, grains, legumes and dairy from your diet for 30 days. Sound crazy? That’s what I thought for the past two years. I seriously went back and forth numerous times on whether I wanted to give it a try or not. I didn’t think I’d be able to give up my precious sugar, breads and yogurt. And, to be honest, I didn’t want to! So… what changed, you may ask?
The past couple of months have been so hard for me. Between balancing my full time teaching job, booming photography business, this blog and being a Senegence distributor, life’s been absolutely crazy. And because of that, working out and my nutrition have taken a back burner. Don’t get me wrong… I still ate fairly well and worked out when I could, but it wasn’t what I would have liked. So enter Whole30. I knew I needed a reset. I wanted a challenge. And with summer just around the corner, I knew my excuses for “I don’t have time” would go out the door.
I’m only five days in, but so far it’s been great! It’s all about preparing, meal prepping (my faaave!) and keeping approved foods on hand for when life gets crazy. One of my favorite things about Whole30 is that it focuses on eating real food. No shakes. No pills. No nasty drinks. Just real meat, real veggies, real fruit and lots and lots of water. I honestly wouldn’t be trying this out if I felt iffy about the foods I was supposed to eat! To read more about it, I highly recommend reading the book The Whole30 by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, the creators of the program. It’s chock full of information, and the recipes in the back look amazing!
So in preparation for the first week of the challenge, I headed to Costco and Sprouts to get some approved foods and essentials to make this challenge as successful and easy as possible. The best part about these items? Even if you’re not doing the Whole30, I still highly recommend you check them out. They are perfect for anyone wanting to pursue a healthy eating lifestyle, and I know they will be staples in my kitchen! I’m sharing everything I got from the veggies and fruit to the snack foods and pantry items. You’re welcome! ;)
Healthy Eating Essentials
My rule of thumb is to go for the greens! I always try to stock up on my favorite green veggies, like kale, brussels, asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers and spinach. Some other favorites are mushrooms, butternut squash and cauliflower rice! Potatoes are allowed in Whole30, so you better believe I have plenty of sweet potatoes and new potatoes to prepare as side dishes at dinner. Avocados are also a go-to for some healthy fats, to make guacamole and to spruce up my afternoon turkey burger.
Becca Tip: Spinach and mushrooms are awesome for helping replace the deficit of calcium and Vitamin D due to the lack of dairy in this program. Potatoes are great for getting the healthy carbs your body needs!
I am a HUGE fruit lover, and try to limit myself to two servings a day. I have been loving the berries lately, especially since they are lower in sugar and in season during the summer months. Some other go tos are bananas, apples and the occasional orange.
Becca Tip: I love using fruit to help calm my sweet tooth, but try to keep it to the morning/early afternoon times only. This avoids too much sugar in the afternoon, and gives me the little bit of sweetness I crave after lunch.
Sausage: I found this sausage at Costco, and loved that the ingredients were not only easy to pronounce, but also clean and approved. I put it in my Perfect Breakfast Frittata, and it is ah-ma-zing.
Chicken: I’ve raved about Costco’s preshredded rotisserie chicken breast before, and even though it has some sugar in it (shhh don’t tell anyone!) it’s just too convenient to give up. ;)
Eggs: This is such a versatile protein! I love cooking up some for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or the shining star when I crave some brinner.
Other: fish, lean beef, pork and turkey
Becca Tip: I usually use chicken for my main source of protein, eat red meats 1-2 times a week, and eat eggs basically every day! Every once in a while I’ll mix things up with some of the other kinds of protein to keep things fun. Another easy way to get your protein is through protein powder in smoothies, protein balls or some tasty pancakes like these.
Olive Oil: This is the only type of oil I use when cooking up anything savory. I use it instead of vegetable oil in my recipes, and it’s awesome. The flavor is great, and I love that it’s rich in monosaturated fats.
Coconut Oil: I l-o-v-e baking with coconut oil! Not only does it add a tasty coconutt-y flavor to my baked goods, but it’s also cholesterol free. It’s a great alternative to lard and butter in my recipes.
Ghee: This is new to me, but I’m liking it so far. It’s clarified butter, and is a great dairy-free alternative to butter! I also love the flavor it’s added to my recipes since I started using it. I store it in the fridge to make it last longer, but it can also be kept at room temperature too.
Coconut Milk: This is such a versatile food, especially when on Whole30. It can act as creamer for your coffee, in SO many recipes and even in smoothies! Yum!
Becca Tip: These are not even the tip of the iceberg of my favorite pantry essentials. For a more extensive list, check out this post!
I am a HUGE snacker. I can’t face a day without at least one snack, so naturally when starting Whole30, I had to find some approved snacks I could eat. Here are some of my favorites so far:
Almonds: Simple, I know, but the do their job! The fat in them keeps me full, and I dig the crunch. Sorta (not really) like chips.
Almond Butter: Peanut butter is not allowed (bummer!), so the good ‘ole AB it is. This stuff is great with apples, in protein balls, and to add a yummy nuttiness to my recipes. I love how inexpensive it was at Costco, too! Such a great deal.
Pressed by KIND: I am a huuuuge fan of KIND bars, so naturally when I saw these bars, I was all for them. They are made with fruit and chia seeds- that’s it! These bars are a great snack to have on hand when the munchies come and I’m in need of something fast and easy.
Becca Tip: READ THE INGREDIENTS. I never realized how many ingredients my previous snack items had that I couldn’t pronounce, nor did I have any idea what they were. Stick to foods with ingredients you recognize, or make your own to save on costs and to make sure you know what’s in it.
Keep an eye out for all the Whole30 approved recipes I’ll be sharing in the next few weeks! The Perfect Breakfast Frittata from this past Wednesday is the first of many delicious recipes to come.
Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions in the comments below:
Have you ever tried Whole30?
What are your favorite healthy eating kitchen essentials?